Divest City Portland Cannabis Tax funds from the PPB budget and invest them into reparations for those harmed by the War on Drugs, which disproportionately targeted BIPOC communities for activities that are now legal.
All across this country, Black people live with the everyday reality of being subjected to a police occupation. This is a form of state violence perpetrated against our community. As a people living in Black bodies, state-sanctioned violence, hyper-surveillance, and resulting disenfranchisement is a constant danger. Black folks who are poor, women, people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, working class, LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming, differently abled, and Black immigrants and refugees of all documentation status are particularly vulnerable. The physical and economic violence of policing, incarceration, and judicial supervision can no longer be tolerated.
Police agencies in Portland, including Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff, Trimet police, and Portland State’s Campus Public Safety officers, like police in other cities, maintain practices of violence against BIPOC people; poor and houseless people; queer, trans, and gender nonbinary people; and immigrants and refugees. The US Department of Justice is currently providing oversight to PPB due to documented abuses of those with, or perceived to have mental illness; and this most recent Settlement Agreement is not the first time that PPB has been under federal scrutiny for its racial profiling, use of force, and other abuses in the community. Yet officials continue to defend the system and resist externally driven reforms, and Portland Police Association defies community demands for accountability and change.
In the past, we have called for reform and regulation, training and increased community accountability. In 2020, our analysis has changed. As we assess the status of policing in Portland and around the United States; as we analyze our past and present through a BIPOC and Black Queer Feminist lens, we have concluded that nothing short of police and prison abolition is sufficient to make Black Lives Matter.
We have learned from the powerful local work of Don’t Shoot Portland (led tirelessly by Teressa Raiford), nationally the work of Movement for Black Lives, and the uprising in Minneapolis led by Black Visions Collective. We are not here to wedge inbetween grassroots organizers and elected officials, to negotiate for incremental change, or to provide political cover. We are joining the fight.
We must have democratic community control over safety and justice systems rooted in restoration and healing. It is beyond time to move towards community safety that supports a healthy, healed Black community.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder by MPD officer Derek Chauvin, Black Portlanders, together with thousands of allies, have led uprisings all across our city. The Portland Police Bureau responded with escalated violence against our city’s grieving Black community.
This violence is nothing new for the Portland Police Bureau. Its history is long and well documented. For the BIPOC community, for houseless community members, for immigrant and refugee community members, for community members with disabilities, PPB does not provide ‘public safety’ — it creates fear and commits violence. Despite attempts at reform and oversight from local elected officials, citizen committees, and the U.S. Department of Justice, it has not changed.
We lift up the names of Black lives taken by Portland area police, including:
- Aaron M. Campbell
- Andre C. Gladen
- Christopher Kalonji
- Deontae Keller
- James Jahar Akbar Perez
- Jason Washington
- Keaton Otis
- Kendra James
- Lloyd ‘Tony’ Stevenson
- Patrick Kimmons
- Quanice Hayes
- Terrell Kyreem Johnson
*Please note, this is not an exhaustive list. If you have additional Black names to add, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portland is in desperate need of brave leadership; leadership that is willing to be in active solidarity with the Black community.
We are calling upon the Portland City Council to:
PAALF: DEFUND THE POLICE!
Immediately reduce the budgets of the City of Portland police bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Multnomah County Corrections Facilities, and commit to never voting for police budget increases again.
- Immediately reduce the PPB budget by $50 Million. Reduce the size of the police force now.
- Commitment from City Council to never vote for PPB Budget increases again.
- Along with an overall cut, it must include:
- Defund Transit Police, which is part of the militarization of our public transit system. End any participation of PPB in Trimet fare enforcement, or the escalation of fare violations with additional charges.
- Defund the Gun Violence Reduction Team, formerly known as the Gang Enforcement Team, which is still dedicated to over-policing Black Portlanders.
- Defund SERT, which brutally represses peaceful protesters with chemical and ballistic weapons, as we’ve seen so acutely on display in response to demonstrations over the murder of George Floyd.
- Immediately reduce the Multnomah County Sheriff and DOC budget by $50 Million. These cuts must include:
- Divest from the Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement (HOPE).
- Divest from electronic monitoring programs, which further drain resources from community members by forcing them to pay for their supervision.
- Divest from the Juvenile gang enforcement team.
- We demand that Portland State University (PSU) eliminate its sworn and armed officers from the Campus Public Safety Office.
REINVEST INTO BLACK FUTURES!
We are in the midst of a health, social, and economic crisis that is having its most devastating impacts on Black, Indigenous, and Brown communities. We must protect and expand community-led health and safety strategies. We must keep our people housed and get our people housed. We must resource the basic needs of Black and African immigrant/refugee community members, right now!
- Invest in a community-centered health and safety model that is developed in strong partnership with community partners.
- Listen to past recommendations! For decades, community partners have been offering wisdom in how to ensure our communities stay and get housed. Addressing health and safety for Black, Indigenous, and Brown communities means prioritizing these solutions.
PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES FROM VIOLENCE!
We elect leaders, we elect the police commissioner. They must do everything in their power to compel police to stop their violence against our communities now, while we work to abolish police entirely. We cannot envision and realize alternatives to our current police state if we do not begin the conversations about what a healthy and just community-centered approach requires. We need the Portland government to begin those measures NOW.
- Pledge that Portland will never participate in the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
- Ensure that all personnel at PPB, Sheriff’s office, DOC, and court are complying with Sanctuary from ICE.
- Stop all sweeps of camps that shelter houseless people and the expansion of sit-lie regulations, and support a Right to Rest agenda that decriminalizes houselessness.
- Stop the militarized response to protest.
- Stop using rubber bullets, teargas and flashbang grenades at protests.
- End the City’s attempt to remove PPB from the DOJ Settlement and accept external oversight for decades of civil rights violations.
- Establish open collective bargaining with police unions during the contract renegotiation, including community groups as a party to the negotiations.
- Limit collective bargaining negotiations to wage and salary related matters.
- Give community oversight meaningful power in disciplinary actions and the dismissal of officers.
- Adequately establish and fund citizen oversight, require police contact data to be collected correctly and reported to the Auditor’s office.
The City of Roses is full of thorns, but we know how to protect each other. Join us to bring about a Portland where our communities practice restorative justice and create safety without violence and fear.
We cannot afford to continue to fund the ongoing militarized responses to protests that demand recognition of our collective humanity.
Now is the time to invest in Black liberation and self-determination.
A new world is waiting. Aṣẹ!
PAALF partner: Unite Oregon